The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) sets the Rateable Values (RV’s) of all business properties across the country; historically carried out every five years, the revaluation adjusts the value of business rates to reflect changes in the property market. The VOA have recently undergone a nationwide review of property valuations and the proposed Rateable Values are due to take effect from April 2017. Some RVs have increased whilst others remain as existing or, in some instances, have been reduced.
It is important to check carefully the revaluation figures to ensure the property details, dimensions and values applied are correct. The VOA may also be applying non-domestic rates for elements of a property which are in fact wholly domestic and fall within the domestic curtilage of a property, for example private stables.
The rates payable are calculated by multiplying the Rateable Value by the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) which is set annually by national government. Some properties are eligible for discounts from the local council on their business rates and can include Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief, Charitable Rate Relief and Enterprise Zone Relief. You are also exempt from paying non-domestic rates whilst your property is vacant, normally up to a maximum of 3 months.
There was good news for small businesses announced in the 2016 budget, as from April 2017 small businesses that occupy properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will, where they qualify, be able to apply for 100% Small Business Rate Relief from April 2017. Properties with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 should qualify for tapered relief, although formal legislation is still awaited.
Agricultural property is exempt, but non-domestic rates may be applied to rural diversification projects such as equestrian stables, storage units or commercial premises if they are not used for domestic or agricultural use.
The government are also expected to reform the process for appeals from April 2017 – the proposed system will follow a process known as “Check – Challenge – Appeal” in an attempt to reduce the number of formal Appeals and make the challenge process more workable and practical.
If you would like any advice to check your current revaluation or believe non-domestic rates are being applied for a property which is used for domestic or private purposes, please contact our Commercial Department on 01789 292310 or Rural Land Agency department or 01608 661666.